Rapport factors you shouldn’t ignore

Rapport factors you shouldn’t ignore

Last week’s brief was based on a single question, “Do I consistently focus my attention on what I don’t want, versus what I do want?”

This week I finished reading Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. The book makes a good case for the merits of introversion. It got me thinking about how, as consultants, we choose to communicate.

Our ability to influence clients is stronger when they know, like, and trust us. And rapport (the like part) is better when we align ourselves with their preferred ways of interaction.

Do clients like consultants … who are like them?

So, perhaps our introverted client responds better to listeners, who ask deeper questions and draw them out. And, when it comes to decisions, perhaps they prefer time and space to think rather than being quickly assertive.

Of course that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t offer your opinion, or present useful information. It’s just about how you choose to do it. Holding forth might not be the best approach.

It seems to me that this is worth testing out. And also whether the opposite is true for extraverts?

That testing might start with noticing how clients speak, what they do, find out how they feel and think. Then a second test, adapting your communication to fit in with them … and not expecting them to adapt theirs to fit in with you.

Can you become curious about one client. Someone you find ‘difficult’ might be a good choice. During interactions with you, do they:

  1. Hold forth, or sit back and listen to others.
  2. Focus their attention on what they don’t want, versus what they do want? (That brief again!)
  3. Show concern about their agenda, or the impact on others.
  4. Talk in detail, or want only the big picture.Get totally engaged “in the moment”, or more stand back “analytical”.

You’re looking for patterns here, not absolutes. Once you’ve done the noticing, reflect on how you might adapt your communication to get better rapport with them.

Please let me know how you get on and what else came into your awareness?